It’s been a busy summer for basketball teams across the Valley, but the grueling camp schedule came to a conclusion for most after the Northern New Mexico team camp, June 21-24, at the Eagle Memorial Gymnasium.
McCurdy Charter School went undefeated in the small-school/large-school junior varsity bracket, defeating Bosque High School in the championship game.
“Our first five from last year kept playing and that’s what I expected from them,” Bobcats head coach Ernesto Espinoza said. “I also saw a lot of growth off the bench and I was really happy with what I saw from our young guys.”
McCurdy returns all of its starters from last year’s team, who finished 18-9 and lost in the first round of the Class 3A state basketball playoffs to Tularosa High School.
Ubaldo Barela, Jacob Martinez and Kemmer Croff will again lead the front-court, while Ernesto Martinez and Raul Arroyo returns as the most experienced guards.
The Sundevils completed their fourth camp in four weeks and have often been without their full contingent of players this summer.
After a large defeat to Santa Fe High School Gold in the first game of the Northern camp, the Sundevils responded well and made it the championship game of the large-school bracket, but again lost to the Demons in the final.
Head coach James Branch got on his players hard after the initial loss, but was happy with how they responded.
“We had Ryan Trujillo back, which helped,” he said about how his team rebounded after the first defeat. “Overall, when we’re all together, the outcome has been very favorable this summer.”
Española has notched victories over schools like St. Pius X, Artesia and Clovis, while losing closely-contested contests to Los Lunas and Atrisco Heritage Academy.
Branch was most optimistic about the loss to Los Lunas and victory over Sandia Prep earlier this summer.
“If we can compete well with teams like that, then that speaks well in the direction we’re headed,” he said.
The Trojans went 1-5 in what was their third camp of the summer. Second-year head coach Benito Maestas said the team got a ton of much-needed experience.
“You can’t teach it (experience),” he said. “It was great to work on our fundamentals, specifically dribbling using our left hand more. I saw a lot more talk on defense and the younger kids stepped up.”
Junior-to-be, Damian Trujillo, stood out with the ball in his hands. He asserted himself as a scorer and leader amongst the team. He will be one of the Trojans to keep an eye on this winter.
The Elks went 2-3 over the weekend and head coach Thomas Vigil was happy his team had opportunities this summer to gel.
“It’s been a grind,” he said. “Just to get out there and get these kids to understand the game, it’s important. If you’re not working year-round you fall behind. The commitment in this part of the state (to basketball) is unbelievable."
Vigil said the core-group that will return next season will be composed of Diego Trujillo, Isaiah Herrera, Marcos Vigil and Noah Dela Cruz.